Chennai, March 12 (IANS) Trekkers caught up in a forest fire at Kurangani Hills in Theni district in Tamil Nadu are being rescued and brought to the plains, said the District Collector on Monday.

Speaking to IANS, Pallavi Baldev said the rescue operations were continuing and the trekkers were being brought down by the rescue team members.

According to her, three of the injured have been admitted in a Madurai hospital with minor injuries.

A commando team from Indian Air Force (IAF) has joined the search and rescue operations.

The IAF commando team flew in from Sulur air base near Coimbatore on Sunday late night and climbed up the hills.

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Sunday said the commandos will be deployed in rescue mission. They will carry medicines and provide medical assistance.

The commandos, having access to advanced communication facilities, will also check about the landing facility for the helicopter on Monday morning or decide on other ways of evacuating those stuck on the spot, including the injured, Sitharaman added.

Baldev said 15 persons had been rescued and search was on for others. The rescued trekkers have been admitted to nearby hospital.

She said 24 trekkers from Chennai Trekking Club and 12 from Erode and Tiruppur had gone to the Kurangani Hills.

The trekking group consisted of eight men, 25 women and three children who had camped at a place up in the hills on Saturday night and they decided to return on Sunday.

It was later gleaned that the trekking team, majority of them women, had embarked on trekking as part of Woman's Day activity.

However, Tamil Nadu Forest Department official said that trekking organisers had not obtained any permission.